Progress Can Be Noisy

Our house is noisy.

Well, our house is normally noisy, but this past weekend, especially so.

Gomer has much to say, particularly about anyone playing without him.

Plus, two lovely ladies moved into the puppy room on Saturday. They are surprisingly quiet, but their movements are monitored by the other three canines in the house, and their fondness for squeaky toys pushes several of those canines over the edge.

The dawn chorus is really something. Yesterday Brady remarked that Gracie has a very nice quiet bark. That’s the point we’ve been driven to—we qualify all of the barking.

Frankie is LOUD. For such a gentle guy, he sounds ferocious.

Gomer is shrill. His barks are laced with excitement, he just cannot miss out on any party.

Which leaves Gracie (who initiates almost every choir rehearsal). Her bark is low and steady and I’ve begun to wonder if she doesn’t just start barking to get the other dogs in trouble.

 

DSC_1883Okay, okay, I’ll tell you about the new puppies! (it’s always about the puppies with you people!) Continue reading Progress Can Be Noisy

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Puppy Play Yard

My husband Nick and I are a pretty good team. I’m the ‘idea’ person and he does all the work.

This weekend, though, Frankie and I were his helpers on a project that has been on my wishlist ever since we began fostering.

I’ve been angling for a ‘dog fence’ for quite some time. Our little hillside farm has six acres, plenty of room for a dog to run, but those acres are surrounded by farmer’s field, woods, one testy neighbor, and a road. It’s rare the foster dog (like Hops) that I can allow off-leash.

I worry too much about losing a dog in the woods, the endless cornstalks, the gun-owning neighbor’s property, or chasing the goats across the road. (The goats live in an invisible fence which makes them readily accessible to the dogs. I’m pretty certain it’s only a matter of time before the wolf or coyotes that have been spotted in our area nab them.)

Ever since Frankie discovered the vultures on the top fence line, Continue reading Puppy Play Yard

Adopter’s Remorse?

You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse?

Every now and again I’m pretty sure some of us have adopter’s remorse.

Not that I don’t LOVE my Frankie. Not that I wouldn’t adopt him AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. He is my wubba-bubba. I can get teary just thinking about the fact that someday he will die.

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And yet…. Continue reading Adopter’s Remorse?

The Difference Ten Pounds (and Two Months) Make

Frankie has another new puppy – only this puppy is ten pounds bigger and at least ten times more trouble than little Zander.

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Hops is a gangly, sweet, goofy boy who somehow already seems bigger than when he got here on Saturday. He’s forty pounds, but his feet are so big he looks like he’s wearing galoshes, so I’d say that even though he’s six months old, he’s far from finished growing.

He routinely runs into things and can’t get his long legs out of his own way. He’s labeled a lab mix, but looks like he was put together with spare parts from a handful of breeds possibly including shepherd.

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He’s in that awkward adolescence phase, tripping over himself, with a loose discombobulated swagger that makes me smile and think of teenagers trying (and failing) to look cool.

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Nothing on the counters is safe. Yesterday he polished off the cream cheese, sampled the newspaper, and [insert frustrated shriek and several curse words] broke Continue reading The Difference Ten Pounds (and Two Months) Make

A Puppy for Frankie (and NO more puppies for Willow)

Frankie got a puppy!

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At least that’s how he sees it.

His interactions with our new foster puppy completely personify the Abominable Snowman’s interactions with Daffy Duck-

“I will hug him and squeeze him and name him George!”

He is delighted to have a new playmate/toy and finds Zander simply irresistible. He paws at him and grabs him by the hind leg to drag around, but then flops on this back and lets Zander jump all over him. They race around the kitchen with Continue reading A Puppy for Frankie (and NO more puppies for Willow)

I’m Betting on Hound

I have only five days left with these puppies.

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And depending on the weather that will go by in a flash or it will seem like forever.

These babes have decidedly outgrown their tiny puppy room. We finally got them outside for some extended time and they loved it. I invited my favorite photographer to stop over and she got some amazing shots of these pups.

Before I share a few of my favorites, I need to give a shout out to Nancy Slattery! She donates extensive hours to OPH photographing pups and then uploading and editing and posting the pictures to help us get dogs adopted. My pups already have adopters, but I asked her here because a) I knew she’d love to come play with them and b) I wanted these pictures for an upcoming project and c) I haven’t gotten the chance to hang out with her in a while, so it was the perfect ruse.

Nancy brought her daughter Casey with her as assistant lighting director and Casey held a remote flash which is partly how these pictures came out so great. Mostly they came out so great because Nancy is Nancy. (AND if you are ever looking for a professional photographer for your own dogs or yourself, ask me for her contact info. Nancy took my headshot long before I discovered her gift with pet photography. She’s quick, talented, and very reasonably priced.)

Despite my grumbling about the messes they make, these five weeks have flown by and their happy energy and adorableness have gone a long way towards easing us out of the winter that never ends.

Early on, I made a few bad guesses as to their breed, after all they were fuzzy, fat, and delectable; they could have been anything. They are labeled blackmouth cur, and that seems likely—as one person commented on their pictures, they look as if their tails are dipped in chocolate.

The other breed I’m becoming more convinced we’re dealing with here, though, is bloodhound.

Here’s a photo of bloodhound puppies at four weeks from the Fishing Forum next to a photo of a few Chocolate Factory pups at four weeks: Continue reading I’m Betting on Hound

They Are Killing Dogs Today

I need to talk to you about something.

I know, I know, you came here for puppy pictures and puppy stories and happy endings; I promise there will be plenty of that.

But first, I need to address something that’s been on my mind and my heart, and then, I’ll share lots of puppy pictures. You’ll get so many, you’ll be like – Quit with the puppy pictures, I’m sick of looking at those puppies!

Most days I don’t have a lot of spare time to think about the larger issue of dog rescue because I’m busy rescuing dogs.

Now and again, I have a moment to consider what can be done about the situation beyond the band-aid that is my puppy room, and so many like it.

OPH, and rescues like it, do amazing work, and yet there remains an endless stream of unwanted dogs whose lives are in danger of being extinguished because of any number of situations that have nothing to do with that individual dog’s breed, behaviors, or health.

Last month, I heard the term ‘economic euthanasia’ for the first time at a gathering of our rescue volunteers and it has haunted me ever since.

I’ve wondered, is it possible dogs are dying because of simple lack of funds?

In part, yes. Shelters in many of our southern states and around the world do not have budgets or facilities that can care for the number of dogs entrusted to their care. They need money for food, staff, equipment, buildings, medical care. When there is not enough money to feed, house, and treat the dogs, the dogs are euthanized, regardless of how ‘adoptable’ or ‘healthy’ they are. I think we all want to believe that doesn’t happen, especially in a country as rich as ours, but it does.

Here is a recent message sent to an OPH shelter coordinator from one of our shelters in South Carolina after they learned that we would be unable to pull dogs from their shelter because our foster homes were full:

Over the holiday weekend, the shelter took in 44 dogs – and the inflow continues every day as always.
There was minimal space available for intake last Friday and it was quickly filled. On Monday the euthanizations began. The first to go were dogs surrendered on Friday because their people were going away for the weekend and didn’t want to be bothered with finding someone to care for their pet. Court cases and strays take precious space because they must be held for specific periods of time.
The sight of beautiful dogs lying dead on the floor, to never having another chance at life, is beyond heartbreaking.
We were counting on next week’s transport to save precious lives, so this news is devastating. We are so very grateful for the many dogs saved thus far by OPH.
Today, I’m praying for a miracle.

I read that as Willow sat beside me, her head on my thigh. OPH pulled Willow and the Chocolate Factory pups from that very shelter.

Money could make a difference at that shelter, not just in terms of much-needed food, medical supplies, and space, but to help them increase staff so that more could be done to advertise their dogs, educate their community, and provide resources to the families that adopt from their shelter so there are fewer owner surrenders. Money is what made it possible for Willow and her pups to be flown out of there before their time was up.

So, yeah, money is good. (There are several ways you can help us raise money listed at the end of this post – one only involves the strategic use of your computer, the other does involve your pocketbook.)

But money alone will not solve the problem of economic euthanasia- dogs dying because there isn’t enough money/space/time to save them.

The one thing that can have the biggest impact on the lives of dogs endangered by economic euthanasia doesn’t involve money, it involves YOU. (Yes, YOU, this is not the collective/generic you I’m talking about.)

The bottom line is this: If we have more foster homes, we save more dogs.

If we have enough foster homes, we save all the dogs that are dying from economic euthanasia.

End of story.

No more need for this blog.

If shelters are not overwhelmed stretching strained budgets and trying to decide which dogs they can afford to save and which will have to die, they would have time to do the work they were built to do—serve their community. Not only could they care properly for the dogs in their shelter, they could educate, support, and be a resource for their community and in doing that, perhaps stem the tide of dogs arriving at their shelter.

Because I know that you have many good reasons why you cannot foster a dog, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty (much), but I am trying to make you consider the possibility. I’d like to plant in your heart the kernel of the idea of YOU as a foster. For just a moment, consider what that might look like. You don’t have to foster a hundred dogs or entire litters of puppies, but you could foster one or two or ten a year.

My book coming out in August is not just the story of my family and our first fifty foster dogs, it is also a plea. My greatest hope is that by sharing the good, bad, ugly, and magical reality of fostering dogs, other people will say, You know, I could do that.

Because you could.

And it will change the world.

My daughter gave me a little sign that hangs outside my puppy room. It says,

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog the world will change forever.

If you’d like to know more about fostering through OPH, click here. If you don’t live in Virginia, Maryland, DC, or South Central PA, look up a rescue or shelter near you. I’m happy to answer any of your questions or point you in the correct direction. Email me at cara.achterberg@rocketmail.com.

I’ll get to the puppy pictures momentarily, but first, here’s how you can help OPH win grant money to save more dogs like Willow and her pups.

All you have to do is vote for our story. Follow this link and then click to vote for Major and OPH. It’s super simple (and they don’t even ask for your email). You can vote from multiple devices, multiple times. Please vote and then please SHARE.

This month I’m taking part in the Spring2Action campaign to raise money for my favorite cause – OPH. If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please consider making a tax-deductible donation (of any size). I’m raising money to fund emergency transports, like the one that saved Willow and the pups. I’m almost halfway to my goal and I could sure you use your help! Thanks! Here’s my fundraising page.

And, as promised, here are your puppy pictures! The Chocolate Factory pups are adorable and messy and most importantly, safe. All the pups have approved adopters and Willow has several applications, so for them at least, there is a happy ending.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter.

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.

 Best,

Cara

COMING AUGUST 2018 from Pegasus Books:

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Preorder available NOW on Amazon!